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Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar?Jewish Roots of Christian Worship Paperback – September, 2009
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About the Author
More About the Author
An essayist and lifestyle reporter for nearly two decades, Gould was published in magazines and newspapers -- when she wasn't writing public relations blather about pest control and wall coverings. Some sort of strange interior, possibly bio-chemical and definitely psycho-spiritual thing happened after her first book was published in 1998.
"I guess I'm a book author," says Gould, who now has nine published books to her credit. She's also swift to point out that being a mid-list author is hardly lucrative. "Providing digital strategy and editorial services pays the mortgage."
Digital strategy? An early adopter of social media, Gould is a fierce evangelist for its value for building and sustaining community. Her most recent work is focused on how social media can and should be used by faith organizations. To that end, she founded a weekly Twitter-based chat (#ChSocM) that's focused on church social media. (Read more about that: http://churchsocmed.blogspot.com)
For literary relaxation, Gould blogs about the spirituality of everyday life at More Meredith Gould (http://meredithgould.blogspot.com). For even more information, check out her LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/meredithgould. Email from readers is always welcomed!
Top Customer Reviews
I firmly believe that if we do not appreciate the Jewish faith for all of its richness, we cannot appreciate the faith the grew out of it - Christianity. Any Catholic who reads this books will gain a deeper appreciation for our liturgical and sacramental life, as well as a newfound respect for the Jewish people.
Entering the synagogue, I was curious about the yarmulkes for men and no chapel veils for women, the lack of statuary and candles, not to mention no Holy Communion. The Hebrew might as well have been Latin; it seemed transcendent to me.
I fell in love with this version of God's house. In fact, I could not wait to get to tell Sister Agnes Marie all about how it was totally different yet so much the same. As it happened, I can't say that Sister was as excited as I was. However, I was intrigued with whatever God had going with Judaism.
No wonder I was anxious to read, "Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? Jewish Roots of Christian Worship" by Meredith Gould (Seabury Books, $20). Gould, who was born and raised Jewish, is now a practicing Roman Catholic.
In the foreword, the author wastes no time and jumps into how her Jewishness shapes who she is to this day. Her proclamation that she is a "Jew in identity, a Christian in faith and a Catholic in religious practice" shows that her faith is wide and deep, cultural and spiritual.
Gould uses words deftly, employing humor to engage the reader while delivering words that will demand serious attention. This style, used throughout, is part of what makes the book compelling to read.
The first chapter begins with Scripture and some thoughts on reading the Bible and various translations. The author uses her knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures to illuminate how to understand these words as Christians today.Read more ›
Gould's newest book, Why Is There a Menorah on the Altar? is a good place to start. Aimed primarily at Catholics, Episcopalians and Lutherans, it is a very readable and even occasionally humorous guide to the Jewish antecedents of many customs and practices in liturgical churches. The author, who considers herself "a Jew in identity, a Christian in faith, and a Catholic in religious practice," did a considerable amount of research into similarities and differences with regard to scripture, historical events, and worship, and this comprises the first half of the book. In the second half of the book she looks at the sacraments of baptism,
holy communion, and confirmation to find the echos of Judaism therein.
Anyone who has been to seminary or studied theology in any depth will probably (I hope!Read more ›
Meredith Gould's book is personal in spots, retelling key moments of her life as a Jewish convert to Catholicism. And while being intensely personal at moments, her book is not off-puttingly so. Not off-putting at all, in fact. By sharing her sacramental interactions and path toward her conversion, she adds to the richness of her biblical and historical observations of both Judaism and Christianity.
This book is part Bible study guide, part historical guide, part prayer/meditation guide. By the author's blending these various components into a single book, the reader is left with a deeper, more connected and spiritual understanding of Christianity. The references to Hebrew scripture that carry through to the Gospel and other New Testament passages certainly will explain why Catholics (and other liturgical-based Christian faith traditions) do some of the things we do and see some of the things we see in the sanctuary. If you've ever felt that your connection to Jesus through the Church was one based in ancient practices and beliefs, then understanding and developing a connection to the "roots" of those traditions and teachings will bring great joy to you as it did as I read this book, contemplated the questions posed and meditated on the thoughts suggested.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My general opinion about all things religious and especially denominational is, "Can't we all just get along? Read morePublished on July 21, 2011 by Brenda A. Keller
Like many in the Midwest in the 1950s and `60s, I grew up in a small community with an abundance of churches--all of them representing different Christian denominations. Read morePublished on December 15, 2009 by Jim in Iowa
In America, we often say that we live in a Judeo-Christian culture. How often we forget about the Judeo part of that label. Read morePublished on December 11, 2009 by J Martin Jellinek
My own path from Judaism to Christianity was made easier by a few particularly brilliant people that both helped me understand my new faith on its own terms and in the terms of... Read morePublished on November 10, 2009 by T. L. Addington